Published by IRL
24 Jun 2020

It may come as a surprise to know that rugby league was first organised in South Africa in 1953 and has progressed through several stages an iterations to reach the current stage where, as full members of International Rugby League, they are ready to step up to the big time.

History will also tell us that South Africans have played and excelled at rugby league for many years including some all-time great such as Tom Van Vollenhoven, Jan Prinsloo and Wilf Rosenberg.

South Africa played sporadic international matches in the 50s and 60s but faced pressure of opposition from local and national rugby union authorities. To some extent this has been addressed recently. SASCOC the South African Olympic Committee arranged a form of recognition for South Africa Rugby League through South African Rugby Union.

The national club competition is for the Rhino Cup and has a regional format which is strongest in the Gauteng region. This is followed by the Jan Prinsloo Trophy which features teams selected from each region.

South African Rugby League Sporting Association now has a strong leadership under President, Frans Erasmus and CEO, Frans Parsons. They have strategic plan to guide their development which covers the national team, including a player pathway, regional and club competitions and a schools and university programme.

All the infra-structure is in place for rugby league to thrive in South Africa. They are open and welcoming of tourists and due to their geography and excellent affordable facilities South Africa is an attractive venue for tours at and every level of the sport.